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In Afghanistan over weekend, Rep. Shuster got sense 'something big' was brewing

May 02, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., is welcomed by Maj. Gen. James Mallory, deputy commanding general of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan.
Submitted photo

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster on Monday returned from a weekend trip to Afghanistan, where he said there was a sense that something big was about to happen.

Shuster, R-Pa., met with Gen. David Petraeus and other leaders in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He talked with Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, a Greencastle, Pa., native who is deputy commander-air, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, and commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan.

Shuster, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he heard about Osama bin Laden’s death on television Monday morning when he awoke in the country of Georgia. He said the news made him understand why extra teams and commanders were on the ground in the Middle East.

“There seemed to be something big going on. ... This has been 10 years in the making, and justice has finally been served,” Shuster said in a telephone interview.

Shuster said the American people need to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.

“It’s going to happen. They’re going to try to retaliate in some way possible,” he said.

Other terrorist leaders will be jockeying for bin Laden’s top spot, so they’ll be trying to prove themselves, Shuster said.

“It’s becoming clearer and clearer Pakistan is not helping us in the way they need to. They’re helping us with al-Qaida, (and) I think they were probably helpful in this situation, but they’re not helping us with the Afghan Taliban. They’re allowing them to have sanctuary,” Shuster said, saying the Pakistani military is “going after” Pakistan’s Taliban but not Afghanistan’s.

Shuster joined five other congressmen in the delegation trip to thank Czech Republic, Georgia and Azerbaijan for their partnership with the United States.

“I’m pretty confident we’re not going to have a (war in Afghanistan) drawdown in 2011. As Gen. Petraeus said before our hearing in the armed services committee a month or two ago, it’s going to be determined by the conditions on the ground,” Shuster said.

“To draw down now would just embolden the enemy,” he said, criticizing the president for setting a drawdown date that the terrorists could use to “wait us out.”

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